Lisa smiled and nodded in agreement. Pastor Helen continued,
“There are healthy conflicts in marriage which are normal. We came from different backgrounds and our upbringings are wide apart. The way we respond to situations, the way we perceive things, our spiritual sensitivities and experiences play their roles in marriage. If the understanding isn’t there, these factors can lead to perpetual complaints or permanent friction. Couples can’t always be on the same level of understanding but knowing when to sacrifice for the sake of love and unity in the home is very important.”
Lisa cut in, “But he promised to sacrifice all for me but he failed woefully. He promised to love me unconditionally but he attached conditions of submission, openness and fasting to it. I love my freedom but he was always crossing the boundaries.”
“What sacrifices did you make?”
“He married me. The bulk of the responsibilities lies on him.”
“Both of you are one. Marriage is a sacrifice. Leaving it alone for the other person will surely weigh him or her down. You must sacrifice something to enjoy the benefits of marriage. Once there is love, sacrifice becomes easy. Because of God’s love for us, he sacrificed his only begotten Son to redeem us from the power of sin and the devil. He gave us the right to be called the children of God. The sacrifice in marriage is for peace and love to reign and not to bring hardship to the union.”
Lisa still wanted to justify herself, she spoke further,
“He didn’t understand that women love to be pampered and cared for like babies. He was so crude in his approach and not romantic at all. Our sex life was off and on approach. I’m so emotional but he behaved like a car mechanic using force to repair the broken car.”
Pastor Helen burst into laughter.
“Who is the car mechanic? Who is the broken car? Some men don’t understand how we feel emotionally. They demand for sex anytime without proper romantic moves and sweet and lovely words to enhance our moods. We can help them by telling them how we want it and the right moves that would trigger our quick responses. Another thing is their willingness to help with the household chores.”
“Exactly! He would just demand for it not minding helping me. It should be collective efforts.” Lisa concluded.
“You are right! Some women also fail to realise the power of submission as Bible enjoins us.” Pastor Helen added.
“Submission? To me it is a slavery. We are in the modern day for God’s sake!”
“As long as we follow God’s instructions in the Bible, we are bound to enjoy God’s unlimited blessings and faithfulness in our marriages. To the people of the world, it may be a slavery but to God’s children, it is a great and beautiful weapon.”
“A great weapon? How? To manipulate him?”
“No! Let me share my story with you. I was already here before my husband came to join me after our wedding. He came with his African mentality and my western mentality couldn’t agree with it. He came from a family where the women hardly speak their minds and I was brought up by my mother after my father had left her for another woman he met in a beer parlour. My mother struggled to give me a quality education until I gave my life to Jesus Christ. God favoured me to come over here. My husband enjoyed the privileges of being the only male in his family. He brought that mentality of having his ways into our marriage and it brought a lot of frictions. To decide on a matter, we would spend a lot of time arguing back and forth. Our early marriage was like a battlefield of who was right and who was wrong. I wasn’t finding it funny then until we attended a marriage seminar organised by another church in our city. We weren’t comfortable with the hard truths being thrown at us until the Pastor took his time to explain Ephesians 5 verses 21 -22 & 25.
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
25) Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
Lisa fastened her eyes on her to get the import of the Bible verses.
“The Pastor emphasised the need to submit to each other under the guidance of God. To abide and follow the same principles in the Bible. We focused on the preacher until the turn of wives to submit to their husbands. He pinched my hand but I withdrew it immediately. He said God deliberately gave women the weapon of submission to get to the control room of men. Submission is like a stick Elisha cast into the water to bring up the fallen axe head. Submission is like that light stick that can bring up that heavy iron axe head. Submission with prayers work wonders. Mrs Lisa, my eyes got opened to the great revelation and I realised my mistake.”
“My God! In other words, submission is easy with God’s grace and determination.” Lisa affirmed.
“Yes! When it got to the turn of my husband in verse 25, I didn’t pinch him but winked at him. He said husbands should analyse the love of Jesus Christ who left the comfort of heaven to come to this sinful world where there were different kinds of people. Jesus still loved them despite their different characters. Husbands must love their wives irrespective of their characters. Jesus’ love is sacrificial and they must emulate him. Love is beyond sex and fending for the family. It is an enduring love that looks into the future in hope of eternal glory. He is the spiritual head who must hear from God constantly and guide the family in the way of God. The preacher said many things and we wrote down the points.”
“Pastor, it’s a hard truth.”
“Yes! We needed it because we weren’t enjoying our marriage then. When we got home, we didn’t bother about the dinner until we had ironed out the points we wrote down. For the first time, my husband knelt down and begged me for his stubbornness and impatience. I didn’t know when tears filled my eyes as I also knelt down in front of him holding his hands asking him to forgive me of my insubordination and selfishness. We promised to stand on the biblical truth of love and submission with the help of God. We pledged to be correcting each other in love and never sleep over our disagreements. By God’s grace, our marriage took a new beginning with love, peace and joy. Though, there are still some healthy conflicts, our understanding still play its role of ensuring peace.”
Lisa’s eyes were filled with tears and she asked,
“You are so lucky to have such a humble husband.”
Pastor Helen replied with a smile,
“My submission plays its role. The more I used the key of submission, the more he began to leave the choice of crucial matters to me. He found out that my choices always correspond to his own and sometimes better than his. If you are truly submissive, your husband will naturally be endeared to you as long as you continue to hand over his heart to God in prayers. Because it is God’s standard, his presence will always be with you. Obedience to God in all things in marriage will bring down His blessings.”
Lisa sighed and asked another question,
“My husband is with a strange woman now. What should I do?”
Pastor Helen answered, “Do you remember the story of …”
To be continued in Episode 36.